Archive

Penguins take step in right direction | TribLIVE.com
News

Penguins take step in right direction

Karen Price

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia — Coach Eddie Olczyk and the Penguins players have been saying from the start of training camp that they won’t finish the season in last place. That they’ll surprise a lot of people this year, and that the only goal is to make the playoffs.

But their actions didn’t catch up to their words in the first three preseason games, and they went into Tuesday’s contest against the Boston Bruins at the Halifax Metro Centre as the only 0-3 team in the NHL.

The fact that it is only the preseason didn’t matter much to Olczyk on Tuesday morning.

“I’m very disappointed that we have not won a game yet,” Olczyk said. “We need guys to step up and get that opportunity. We’re going to have some decisions to make in the next four to five days of where we’re going.”

Several players answered the call in a 3-2 win last night in which the Penguins equaled their offensive output from the first three games combined. Rookie Matt Murley scored in the opening minutes and was later joined by defenseman Patrick Boileau and forward Rico Fata on the scoresheet.

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, playing in the same building that housed the World Junior Championship in which he starred last winter, stopped 27 of 29 shots in his second preseason game for his first win.

The Penguins’ lineup bore more resemblance to one they could field during the regular season than the previous three games. Veteran Martin Straka played in his first preseason game and was joined by forwards Aleksey Morozov, Rico Fata, Eric Meloche, Ramzi Abid, Brian Holzinger and Matt Bradley, among others. On defense, Drake Berehowsky was supposed to join Dick Tarnstrom on the blue line before Tarnstrom became sick at the airport and was sent home.

“We want to start fielding what we feel is at least a close proximity of what we’re going to look like opening night,” Olczyk said.

And unlike in their last game against the stripped-down Washington Capitals, the Penguins faced a number of Boston Bruins regulars, including Brian Rolston, Sergei Samsonov, Joe Thornton, Glen Murray. Steve Shields was the goaltender for two periods and was replaced by Andrew Raycroft in the third. Former Penguins defenseman Ian Moran watched from the press box.

Murley scored the first goal just two and a half minutes into the game by doing exactly what Olczyk directed before the game — going to the net. He pushed a rebound under Shields from the right corner for his first point of the preseason in his second game.

The Bruins tied the score with five minutes left in the first period after Sergei Samsonov knocked in a rebound from a shot that hit the post behind Fleury. Less than a minute later, the Penguins reclaimed the lead on a one-timer by Patrick Boileau, filling in for Tarnstrom, after a pass by Morozov from behind the net.

Fata gave the Penguins a cushion in the last five minutes of the second period when he took advantage of an off-balance Jeff Jillson to speed down the right wing and send a wrist shot past Shields on the far side.

All four goals were at even-strength.

Early in the third period, Bruins forwards Joe Thornton drew both Berehowsky and rookie Paul Bissonnette to him as he charged down the middle with the puck. That left Nova Scotia native Glen Murray open in the left circle to take a pass and beat Fleury stick side at 2:58.


TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.